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Advanced fuselage and wing structure based on innovative Al-Li alloys (AFSIAL)
Start date: Oct 1, 2012, End date: Jun 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims at the development and demonstration of a metallic solution combining innovative aluminiumalloys of the Al-Cu-Li family and advanced assembling technologies such as Laser Beam Welding and hybridwelding. it will be also investigated the potenzial of innovative split-beam process and will be made a comparison with the laser and hybrid arc-laser processes. Aerostructures, including fuselage and wing stiffened panels, are responsible in average for 50% of total aircraft weight. In order to obtain the required panel properties anda significant weight reduction, the strategy of the project is to combine the most suitable materials with the optimised welding process and an appropriate design. Recently developed low density Al-Cu-Li alloys offer directweight reduction of about 5% and the improved property balance versus conventional alloys allows further weightreduction up to 20% through adapted design. The assembling process is a major field of improvement for the cost effective use of aluminium alloys that will be explored in the project. Laser beam welding had demonstrated in the past to be the best suitable welding technology for flat panel production, especially for fuselage. The main advantages are the very low distortion, the absence of defects and reduced postweld re-work. Hybrid laser welding combines the advantages of laser processes with arc welding resulting in high joint quality and completion rates with increased tolerances to fit up and without compromising joint quality and distortion control.It is expected to be most suitable for wing panels. The objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of this material and process solution and bring it to a TRL of 4. For this purpose, the welding technology parameters will be optimised for Al-Cu-Li materials, and flat panels representative of the four major parts of the aircraft contributing to the total structure weight (i.e. bottom and crown fuselage and upper and lower wing) will be designed, manufactured and tested.

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